Buy Fair Trade, Hand Made or Global Aid

5 years ago

Here’s one of my holiday shopping dilemmas: I want to buy presents for my friends and family, but I don’t want to get caught up in the consumer frenzy. Especially with the reports about dubious manufacturing practices (child labor?) or war-torn starvation in the Horn of Africa. Well, there are great companies out there who are Fair Trade, help women out of slavery and on the road toward financial independence, or simply give back a portion of their proceeds to the areas of the world that are desperately in need.

Now you can give a great present and feel good about giving it.

For the Foodie:

Equal Exchange has been producing Fair Trade coffee since 1986, and has since expanded their selections to include co-operatively produced chocolate, tea, nuts and olive oil. Individual items or baskets of items can be ordered online at the Equal Exchange store.

Image Credit: Equal Exchange

For the Fashionista:

The scarves from Live Fashionable, a partner organization of ONE MOMS, are on-trend and handmade by women Africa. Each style is named after the woman who makes them, and on the website you can read their stories of how their craft has improved their lives.

Image Credit: Live Fashionable

Freeset is a company that helps women in Kolkata, India get out of sexual slavery and develop skills to support themselves and their children. The women are trained how to make goods, such as t-shirts or jute tote bags, often incorporating recycled sari material or printed with lovely designs. I have one of their jute cargo bags, which I love.

From our BlogHer Publishing Network:

BlogHer Carrien Blue of She Laughs at the Days runs The Charis Project, which works with orphans in the Thailand’s hill country. These children are ethnic minorities in their own country, and thus ignored by much of society. Carrien has set up an online store selling tote bags handmade by women in this Thai community.

Image Credit: The Charis Project

BlogHer Stefanie from Ni Hao Y'all is one of the founders of a line of beatiful graphic t-shirts called Wild Olive. The shirts are not manufactured by forced or child labor and the proceeds from the adoption fundraiser tees help families who are adopting children from China.

You’re Gonna Shop There Anyway…

Maybe you’d prefer the familiarity of your local mall when purchasing your holiday gifts. Many chain stores are also offering Fair Trade or charitable products, such as:

Lush Charity Pots – Buy a tub of hand cream and 100% of the price is donated to a small, grassroots organization, such as Inherit (supporting Mayan Indigenous culture) or Made by Survivors (which combats human trafficking in India and Nepal).

Macy’s - Heart of Haiti line of home goods includes dishes, candleholders and ornaments, made by Haitian artisans whose livelihoods have been all but devastated by the earthquake in January 2010.

Race and Ethnicity Section Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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